Growing up in rural Vermont meant that visiting friends was not always a stroll next door. I used to trek up a big hill to visit one grade school friend, but it was always well worth the trip for the camaraderie and for her German grandmother's tea cake. It was a traditional German butter cake with McIntosh apples nestled in the batter and cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.
Mimi (my friend's grandmother) taught me that scoring apples with a fork helps ensure they will be tender by the time the cake is baked to perfection. I have adapted the recipe by sprinkling turbinado sugar over the cake; I think it adds a nice texture. The recipe only takes fifteen minutes of prep time before it goes in the oven.